Horizontal Packed Scrubbers
Written by Ralph Strigle, Jr. Consultant for Powell Fab & Mfg., Inc.
Presented at the 73rd Chlorine Institute, Inc. Annual Meeting
Chlorine is one of the most useful and economically important of the basic chemicals.
Its largest single use is for the manufacture of plastics, mostly polyvinyl chloride
(PVC). It is also used for manufacture of pharmaceuticals, aerosol propellants,
agricultural chemicals, synthetic rubbers, dye stuffs, and paper pulp. No other material
offers the economy of operation, simplicity of control, and safety of operation
as chlorine for the treatment of potable water and sewage plant effluent. Other
chemicals such as ozone, hydrogen peroxide, and potassium permanganate have been
considered but are not widely used or accepted.
Since chlorine is classified as a toxic chemical, special requirements must be followed
regarding its shipment and use. It has a distinctive, pungent, and irritating odor
which is detectable at a level of even one ppm. This characteristic permits a user
to recognize that a leak has occurred and to take corrective action. The Responsible
Care (R) program directed by the Chemical Manufacturer's Association provides assistance
and guidance to producers and distributors emphasizing the industry's commitment
to the safe use of chlorine.
The Chlorine Institute is committed to the Responsible Care Program and provides
additional support to the industry by aiding in the development of meaningful and
useful regulations. Building and Fire Code groups can receive technical support
from the Chlorine Institute in the form of data on the use and handling of chlorine.
Publications such as the Chlorine Release and Scrubber pamphlets provide the necessary
information regarding the safety and handling of emergency situations. Facilities
that offer the potential of releases from areas of production, use, or packaging
can obtain the necessary background and supporting data to permit meeting the EPA
and OSHA guidelines and the SARA Title 3 requirements.
As most operations involving chlorine now are open to public scrutiny, implementation
of adequate precaution to control emergency situations is essential. With all of
the information which has been disseminated by the media, the average person is
fearful of most chemicals. Even unintentional violations of federal regulations
or local ordinances patterned after the Uniform Fire Code can incur large fines
or closure of an operation. Thus, installation of an emergency chlorine scrubber
that can contain the release of the total contents of a vessel becomes an important
step in maintaining good community relations.
This paper will review the characteristics of many of the scrubber types for gaseous
contaminants that are in a wide commercial use. The absorption theory applied as
the background for the design of a multiple-bed packed scrubber utilizing horizontal
gas flow will be given. The arrangement for conducting full-scale tests on this
scrubber design will be shown. The results of four tests on the discharge from one-ton
containers of chlorine at rates exceeding the Uniform Fire Code will be presented.
Finally, the basis for the design of the commercial scrubber will be discussed.
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